How was Glencoe formed?
420 million years ago Glencoe was an exploding super volcano. So much hot lava was blown out that the earth’s surface sagged into a great basin – a caldera. We see the rocks of those eruptions all around us forming the mountains of the glen. In the last 2 million years a series of glaciers and ice sheets carved and gouged those rocks into new shapes. Now that the ice has melted, a mere 11,500 years ago, we finally see today’s Glencoe revealed.
The Massacre of Glencoe
In 1692 the reigning king, William II, ordered soldiers of the British Army to carry out the Glencoe Massacre. William and Mary had seized the throne from Mary’s father, James VII. James had many Highland supporters (Jacobites) so the government decided to exterminate a Highland Clan (the MacDonalds of Glencoe) as an example to cow the Jacobites. The soldiers that carried out the massacre had lived with their victims for twelve days prior to the event. Then they rose in the night and slaughtered their hosts. 38 died in the villages and uncounted others died in the snow trying to make their escape. Because the soldiers broke the rules of hospitality this has always been known as murder under trust. As a result, it is considered one of the most shocking attacks that the government has unleashed on the people of the Highlands.
The Peaks of Glencoe
Rock climbing was first pioneered 150 years ago in places like the Alps and Norway, and also Glencoe. Percy Unna was a keen climber who loved Glencoe and became president of the Scottish Mountaineering Club in the 1930’s. He purchased much of Glencoe to conserve it for the future, and presented it to the National Trust for Scotland.
Wildlife and Plants in Glencoe
If wildlife is your thing then Glencoe is for you. Red deer; roe deer; foxes; badgers; otters and pine marten all live here. Waterfowl, raptors, owls and woodpeckers can all be found. And when it comes to the flora – Glencoe has many rare arctic-alpines as well as mosses, liverworts and native woodland.
Who owns Glencoe?
The National Trust for Scotland (Scotland’s leading conservation organisation) own most of the valley, thanks to Percy Unna’s vision. They run an award winning visitor centre with displays on the geology; history and the flora and fauna of the glen.